Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Grand Ole Opry Line-Up 11/12 & 11/13 and Opry Notes----Updated

The Grand Ole Opry has filled out its Saturday night line-up by adding Ricky Skaggs for both shows. That is a welcomed addition. I am suprised that Ricky is not hosting any segment on either of the shows. Usually Ricky would take a host spot over Jeannie Seely or Jim Ed Brown. Nothing major. And in looking at the line-up again, I see that Jeannie Seely is hosting with Jack Greene as her guest. Years ago, it would have been the other way around, especially when Jeannie was singing the duets with Jack.

Also, nice too see Brad Paisley winning the CMA Entertainer of the Year award last night. Of those nominated, I think he deserved it. I know things change and so has country music. I remember watching the first CMA show with Roy Rogers and Dale Evans hosting, which was on tape delay because the networks were afraid on how the "hillbillies" would act on television. And I can remember when watching the CMA Awards Show was "must see" tv. To me, the highlight was always watching to see who they would name as the newest member to the Hall of Fame. But, for a couple of years now, I just can't seem to get excited about the show. I caught a bit of it last night. I saw George Strait singing and that was fine. I also saw the Zac Brown Band win the new artist award, and I would not believe how they were dressed. It used to be "Sunday best" for the show, but I guess that is long gone. And, to hear Blake Shelton's response on winning an award so early in the show, basically saying that now that he won, he could go out drinking! I know that this is a new era of country music performers and they act and do things differently than the legends did. Folks such as Cash, Jennings, Willie, Loretta, Monroe, Tubb, Snow and on and on. Maybe that is why some of these new folks will have such short careers and never become, truly legends. Sometimes I wonder if they really respect the music. Finally, it was nice that they did the tribute to Loretta Lynn. I would also have loved it if they would have taken 5 minutes out of a 3 hour show and paid tribute to the new Hall of Fame members.

The Grand Ole Opry has posted the line-ups for this weekend's shows. There will be 1 show on Friday night and 2 shows on Saturday night, all taking place at the Ryman Auditorium.

Friday November 12:
7:00: Mike Snider(host); Jeannie Seely; Josh Kelley
7:30: Jimmy Dickens(host); Jan Howard; Del McCoury Band
8:15: Bill Anderson(host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Craig Morgan
8:45: Marty Stuart(host); Riders In The Sky; Connie Smith

Saturday November 13:
First Show
7:00: Jimmy Dickens(host); Jimmy C. Newman ; Del McCoury Band
7:30: Jim Ed Brown(host); Connie Smith; Ricky Skaggs
8:00: Mike Snider(host); Jean Shepard; Gretchen Wilson; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Bill Anderson(host); The Whites; Craig Morgan

Second Show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens(host); Jean Shepard; Del McCoury Band
10:00: Jeannie Seely(host); Jack Greene; Ricky Skaggs
10:30: Jim Ed Brown(host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Gretchen Wilson; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson(host); The Whites; Craig Morgan

One of the things that struck me about this line-up is that tonight are the CMA Awards in Nashville. Remember in days gone by when many of the country stars would hang around an extra couple of days and do the Opry? Looks like no more. And, do all of you remember when Gretchen Wilson was going to be the next big female star in country music?

On Tuesday night, Charlie Louvin returned to the Opry stage for the Tuesday night Opry. Eddie Stubbs gave Charlie a very nice introduction, as he always does. Charlie did 3 songs and he sounded pretty good, much better than his couple of appearances on the Midnight Jamboree. Here is hoping that Charlie will be making more of the Opry shows. Also, he was plugging his new album that was released yesterday, "The Battle Rages On." Check it out. It is pretty good.

A couple of former Opry musicians are having some health issues. Billy Linneman, who played bass in the Grand Ole Opry staff band is in the hospital for surgery for bleeding in the brain. Billy was a member of the staff band from 1962-2005, when he was let go by Pete Fisher. At the time there was a lot of discussion with the changes that were being made in the staff band.

Bill Carlisle, Jr. is the other former Opry musician who is having a health issue. Bill Jr, who performed with his father Bill Carlisle as part of the Carlisles, reportedly broke his neck and suffered spinal injuries in a motorcycle accident. He was riding is motorcycle between Goodlettsville and Hendersonville. He was in Vanderbilt University Medical Center in critical, but stable condition in the Intensive Care Unit. He is on a ventilater and when his condition allows, he is to be moved to a facility in Atlanta for his recuperation. If you remember, Bill sang as part of the Carlisles with his dad, his sister Sheila, and later with George Riddle. Of course, Marshall Barnes, who Bill would often introduce as the world's greatest base singer, and Joe Edwards, were also part of the group at various times.

Finally, last Sunday 2 Opry members were honored with stars on the Music City Walk of Fame, in Walkway of Fame Park in Nashville, which is located across the street from the Country Music Hall of Fame. Jimmy Dickens and Mel Tillis were both honored in the ceremony. Also honored with a star was former Opry member, Eddy Arnold. For more information on the ceremony and pictures, check out the Tennessean on line.


  1. Thanks for the info and the notes. I was thinking that the Opry usually picked up a few big names from the CMA. For what it's worth, I see that Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood both are on tour this weekend, so I'm not faulting them. It's nice to see Craig Morgan doing all three shows.

    Charlie Louvin sounded stronger as he kept singing. Tough old bird.

  2. By the way, if I remember, when Marshall Barnes decided to cut back and then retire, didn't George McCormick work with Bill Carlisle? The story I remember about Marshall is that he had a watch business or something, and his Opry locker always had wristwatches in it.

  3. I seem to remember that for a time George McCormick and George Riddle worked not only for Bill Carlisle, but also for Grandpa Jones. I may be wrong, but it just seems to stick with me.

    Yes, Charlie Louvin did sound better with each song.

    And, what about the CMA's last night?? I know country music today isn't the same as what it was in our day, but I was not impressed with the way some were dressed or acted. I was happy that Brad Paisley won for entertainer of the year.

  4. I confess, I don't watch. I have no use for it. That said, I am glad for Brad. He should celebrate by doing the Opry more.

    As for how they dress, I could never figure out the logic behind a formal jacket and a t-shirt or something like that. It's a big occasion. Dress for it. As Bill Anderson says, he always feels at a show he should be dressed better than the best-dressed member of his audience.

  5. A couple of comments, for what they're worth:

    1. I'm just appalled by the way most country performers dress these days. No class whatsoever and some look like they just rolled out of bed and walked onstage. Acuff and Bill Monroe were never flashy but they always looked like professional entertainers. Hank Snow often said he felt like he owed the people who paid to see him a little bit of flash and not to look like the guy sitting next to them in the audience. Mel Tillis has one of the last bands that dress in matching uniforms and on a Midnight Jamboree appearance a few years ago he told the crowd that he hoped no one was offended by the way he dressed his band but he was from the old school of entertainment...a sentiment that drew loud applause.

    2. I don't recall George Riddle working with Grandpa Jones although I could be wrong. He worked with George Jones for many years and he's one of those sidemen who has been around forever. Grandpa's musicians in his final years were George McCormick and Joe Carroll.

    3. Marshall Barnes was a jeweler and a fine watch repairman. He did some work on a pocket watch for me many years ago and it's still in great working order. He probably did just as much business from his locker as he did from his home in Goodlettsville. He was also an extremely funny man and the Barnes/ Carlisle vaudeville show that took place every Saturday night in the backstage hallway was often better than the show going on out front. Carlisle would be sitting in the reception area while Marshall was trying to do business at the far end of the hallway: "Marshall!" "Be quiet, Bill!" "Marshall!" "SHUT UP, BILL! I'm trying to work down here!" They were two of the Opry's last great "characters".

  6. Barry, you of course are right about George Riddle working with George Jones. I should have remembered that. And, I was confusing George Riddle with Joe Carroll. Thanks for setting me straight. Hey, there are to many George's and Jones' in this conversation to keep me straight. HaHa!

    And I agree with all the comments about how the entertainers dress. Even Johnny Cash in his last years did not dress up, but he always wore an all black shirt and banks, and his back up band was in black. It was basic, but they looked nice.

    Especially when I go to the Opry, I fell that the entertainers should show some respect and dress right. Most of the Opry members usually look fine, but the guests and the band members are many times something else. I still appreciate the bluegrass groups, folks such as Del McCoury and his band, Jesse McReynolds and Bobby Osborne and their groups. They are always looking sharp in coats and ties. Ricky Skaggs used to dress that way with his band, but he has even gone away from it in recent years.

  7. A point about bluegrass is that I think Monroe set the standard, and those of his generation felt it should be followed. Would he have tolerated Ricky's long hair? I doubt it. That said, I don't care about that, except that I think it looks bad on him.

    Cash said once that while he talked about wearing black to remember the poor, etc., he started wearing black because it was just easier for him to put together a stage outfit, which makes sense. I'd note that Jimmy C. Newman still wears the alligator/rhinestone suits, I believe. But there's a difference between being casual, which is fine, and looking like an unmade bed.

    I'm reminded of Archie Campbell, who hated wearing what he called the "rube" outfit and noticed Ferlin Husky in a mohair sports jacket. So he came in the next week in a sports jacket. Opry management went nuts, but he went out and did his routine and floored him. He said what counts isn't how you look but what you do. I understand that. But looking dirty is another matter entirely.

  8. When Marty Stuart and the Fabulous Superlatives appear Friday night you can count on them being dressed "superlatively". There is no better dressed country group.

  9. I remember the Archie Campbell story. Up to that point, all the country comedians had to dress like they were a bunch of "rubes". We all remember show Rod Brasfield, Lonzo & Oscar, Stringbean and the others dressed.

    I also remember how George D. Hay wanted all the Opry performers to dress like a bunch of country bumkins, to give the Opry that real, rural feeling. If I remember right, The Vagabonds and Pee Wee King were among the first to "dress up" for the Opry.

    And, I think that the dressing up by the bluegrass acts just gives them that special feeling. It goes to the females also. Rhonda Vincent is always dressed up.

  10. George McCormick retired from performing before Grandpa Jones' death and Grandpa's last band was Joe Carroll on electric guitar and George Riddle on rhythm guitar. George Riddle was, in fact, playing for both Bill Carlisle and Grandpa Jones on the Opry for some period of time. I might could give a more exact time period if I researched it.
    I love reading this blog and hearing from all the other lovers of the Grand Ole Opry!

    Robert Montgomery

  11. As I think about it, when Dave Hooten took over for Johnny Sullivan as Lonzo, they still dressed as "rubes," and Dave finally talked Rollin Sullivan into dressing normally. There's a You Tube clip of "Oscar" performing at an event in Kentucky and wearing a crazy wig. He's 91 and looking and sounding great.

    I'd echo that Marty Stuart's group is snappy looking. Although I'm content if they are at least clean and neatly dressed, I like to see a band dressed up alike. As I think about it, Roy Acuff didn't really dress like a "hillbilly," did he? He had band members who did and in later years, everybody in the band wore sports jackets except Oswald, since he had a "costume."

  12. I have to admit that Ricky Skaggs' long hair has me confused. For a man who has done much to keep Bluegrass Music and the traditions of Bill Monroe alive, the long hair seems very disrespectful of the very things he has worked so hard to honor and preserve!

  13. Hey Robert, thanks for the update on George Riddle and Joe Carroll. Like I said originally, I thought at one time George Riddle did play for both, but with Grandpa Jones it was just a short amount of time.

  14. Anonymous, I have to say, long hair usually doesn't strike me as attractive, but consider Willie Nelson: he's Willie, and the long hair worked for Willie. It just doesn't on Ricky.

    Ricky is on the Opry now, doing "Uncle Pen." And it appears Connie Smith isn't there.